Category: Reviews

Greetings fellow bike commuters and super bike commuters! You are considered a super commuter in my book if you ride five days a week rain or shine. Well, I am not a super commuter by any stretch BUT I did try commuting on the rain this past week.

20170321_174154

You may remember that Sealskinz sent me some products for me to ride while is raining so I went ahead and grabbed my trusty Spicer Cycles CX and slapped some “fenders” and headed off to work.

20170321_072815

Although the meteorologists predicted about a half inch of rain, my morning commute to work was just cloudy and breezy but no rain.

Rain came and went throughout the day and when it was time go home it was just drizzling. Armed with my Sealskinz gloves, helmet cover and rain socks I headed to the train station. So how did the Sealskinz gear do?

IMG_20170321_180507_596

Sealskinz waterproof helmet cover: The cover fit perfectly over my Cannondale helmet and it kept my noggin dry the entire time. The LED lights were visible on my cloudy commute.

20170321_174132

Sealskinz All weather Gloves: My hands were dry and toasty during my ride. The gloves grabbed really well and did not slip from the hoods or brakes. I also love the bright color and the reflective accents, my co-workers were teasing me on how bright they were.

20170321_174135

Sealskinz waterproof socks: OK, so when I first grabbed the socks they felt weird. The socks felt stiff and had a rubbery feeling to them. I was really concerned that my feet were going to sweat and chafe as well. To my surprise, the socks breathed well and they were really comfortable and kept my feet warm and dry.

I was not able to use the Sealskinz shoe covers because my DZR Minna shoes were a little to big for them but the covers fit perfectly on my road shoes.

So how was the ride? Riding with the right gear makes a huge difference. All of my previous rides on the rain sucked because I was not expecting for it to rain and I was not prepared at all. If I had something to complain about was the visibility because my sunglasses would get wet and it would be hard to see at times. Does any one have a trick for this?

Again, big thanks to Sealskinz for the rain gear, check out their site at https://www.sealskinz.com/US/bike for more information and for more of their waterproof stuff.

Hello bike commuters and fellow rain dancers! If you follow these weekly (ish) posts you probably know that I am a fair weather bike commuter. Yes, being a Southern Californian I am not prepared for rainy weather so I just avoid it.

IMG_20170306_173013_634

Well, the fine fellows from Sealskinz thought that I should stop my whining and send me some nice rain gear to test during rainy days. The problem is that it has been over 80 degrees everyday since I got the items so I have not been able to ride with the gear they sent me. Here is the stuff that they sent, I may add that all the products seem to be well made and I can’t wait for a rainy day!

20170306_200858
20170306_200912

Starting from my head, I got the Halo Waterproof Helmet Cover. The cover features reflective print as well as integrated LEDs in the back of the helmet.

20170306_201201

For my hands, the All Weather Cycle Gloves in Hi Vis yellow should keep them dry and cozy.

20170306_201118

Having cold and wet feet really sucks, so I got the Road Thin Mid Socks. These socks are supposed to be waterproof and warm.

20170306_200650

I Doubled down on keeping my feet dry and warm so I also got the Lightweight Halo Overshoe covers. These cool covers feature a powerful LED built into the rear.

So I guess I don’t have any excuses anymore since Sealskinz has me covered from head to toes! I will report back on how the items performed in the rain.

Hello fellow roadies and bike commuters! We finally got a sunny day here in Southern California and I took advantage by riding my Bianchi Impulso with the new-to-me HED Ardennes Plus wheels. There are times that you think to yourself; “self, I deserve a new pair of shoes”, but in our case; “self, my bike deserves a new pair of wheels”. In a deal that my buddy could not resist, he bought these seldom used HED Ardennes Plus wheels for his road bike. The problem was the “Plus” since these wheels are wider than the normal wheels and he was not able to make them fit on his bike.

IMG_20170212_163749_276

My buddy was kind enough to let me test ride these wheels to see if I like them. Mind you, they were a little over my budget but based on HED’s reputation I said what the heck, why not, let’s try them.

20170209_200137

I encountered clearance issue as my buddy, but with careful brake pad adjustment, I made those suckers fit. What is the big deal with these wheels? The rims are 25mm wide, 2 mm wider than the “normal” wheels. The HED Ardennes Plus also came with Continental Grand Prix tires which looked like big ass tires.

20170212_161828

I have always considered reviewing road wheels and tires very hard to do. I mean, how can you really tell the difference, right? I picked a route with small climbs and descents, rough asphalt, a railroad crossing and sweeping turns to get a feel of the wheels. The first thing I noticed was this humming noise as I rode on the flat surfaces, not a bad noise, a noise that I assume was created by the bladed spokes. Then came the angry bees, yeah, that noise the rear hub creates as you stop pedaling and coast. Some riders like that noise, some hate it. I like it. As I kept pedaling and rode the rain beaten asphalt, I noticed how comfortable the wheels were. There was no jarring when I rode on top of small cracks or loose asphalt, no “thunk” noises when you hit small pot holes it was just… bliss.

20170205_201530
Rear wheel weight -HED Ardennes

20170205_201510
Rear wheel weight -Shimano RS010

I consider my self “old school” when it comes to tires, I would not ride anything bigger than a 23 because of the minimal weight savings and the theory of lower rolling resistance. These new 25mm wheels and tires have totally changed my mind and I can’t wait to take them on longer rides.

2016-12-04_07-20-59

Bicycle lights have come a long way, they are smaller, more powerful and less expensive. I own a NiteRider FireStorm HID light which weighs about 800 grams, produces about 400 lumens and used to sell for over $300.

2016-12-04_01-28-13

We now have plenty of choices for lights that produce over 400 lumens for less than $100. I selected the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 because I think that 600 lumens would be enough for riding on the streets and off-road. I also chose the Lumina Micro 600 for its price point; $64.99 is affordable for a 600 lumen light.

20161203_085510

I’ve been taking the NiteRide Lumina Micro 600 on all of my rides; from commuting, road riding and mountain biking. Yes, I even use the Lumina Micro 600 on my morning road rides to the beach.

20161126_214957

Here are the Lumina Micro 600’s features:

  • 4 Light Levels plus 1 Daylight Flash Mode
  • FL1 Standard IP64, water resistant
  • Affordable, high output light
  • Ultra lightweight 600 lumen head light, weighing in at only 130g including mount
  • Easy on and off handlebar strap mount with quick release tab
  • Fits standard and oversize 35mm handlebars
  • Small compact design that’s perfect for helmet mounting (Helmet Mount Sold Separately)
  • Convenient USB rechargeable
  • Low battery indicator
  • Lock Mode, perfect for use during storage and transporting the light. Press and hold
    power button for 7 seconds to lock out operation of light.

20161203_085540

My favorite feature of the light is how versatile it is, the flashing mode is bright enough to be seen during daylight, the high output mode is perfect for riding off-road and dark commutes. The 300 Lumen mode is great for riding on busy lit trails so you won’t blind incoming cyclists/walkers and it also doubles the run time.

20161011_193409

The light beam is round with a slight bluish tint, this limits the amount of “glare” you get during those foggy nights. The Lumina Micro 600 is very compact, light and the mounting strap fits nicely on all of my oversized handlebars. There was no flickering while riding on bumpy terrain and I never ran out of juice even running at full blast for over an hour and twenty minutes. Charging took about 2 hours using my USB charger so I had plenty of time to recharge the light during work hours.

20161122_173604

I don’t have anything negative to report about this light, I really love it and it pairs perfectly with the NiteRider Sentinel. For more information about the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 or to purchase this light, check out NiteRider’s website at https://www.niterider.com/

Here is a video of me riding with the light:

It seems like everyone is so excited about Christmas that stores were already flooded with trees, ornament and sales…. lots of Christmas Sales… Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Oh, yeah, it is now called “Black Friday Eve”.

We have decided to bring back our holiday gift guide this year to help you write your yearly list to Santa Claus. Here is part one:

2016-03-27_12-48-34

Jerseys: We actually liked jerseys that were not commuter specific such as Tek Gear’s DryTek jerseys which could be found at department stores for less than $12. If you are looking for a bike commuter specific jersey, we liked CHCB wool jerseys which sell for about $30 at Performance Bike or Amazon.

20160704_073616

Shorts: My new favorite shorts are the Showers Pass Gravel shorts; not too baggy, not too tight, cool reflective accents. We also liked the Serfas Decline shorts and if you must use roadie shorts; we recommend Sugoi Men’s Evolution Shorts

20161016_102608

Shoes: It is no secret that DZR shoes have been our favorite bicycle commuting shoes. We got to review the DZR Minna shoes this year and they did not disappoint. Before the DZR shoes arrived, I was wearing Pearl Izumi Men’s X-ALP Seek VI BL Cycling Shoes. The X-alp are stiffer but they didn’t quite fit with my office attire.

Jackets/Vests: I usually ride with vests and arm warmers on cool days; the Solo Equipe Cycling Gilet vest is my choice of vest. The material is thick and it has plenty of reflective material for those night rides. I don’t really ride in the rain, but I have heard good things about the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, this thing has lights!

20160823_200726

Gadgets: You know I love my gadgets and the Garmin vívoactive watch tops my list. The watch is a pedometer, cyclocomputer and a smart watch which met all of my cycling needs and more. I you don’t want to spend over $100, we recommend the Moov Now 3D.

20160228_084651

If you are one of those riders who like your smartphone in front of you and on your handlebars, we really liked the Quad Lock mounting system. The mount is very versatile and secure, your phone will not go out flying unless you eat it hard.

2016-11-20_06-19-28

Panniers/Backpacks: I like riding with panniers because backpacks will make my back sweat. But there are times that you need to ride with a backpack, like the time I was riding offroad on my Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike. Our friends at 2 wheel gear came out with a brilliant product: the Pannier Backpack convertible. This pannier converts into a backpack in seconds and vice-versa, perfect for train-bike commuting. 2 Wheel Gear also sells the garment pannier which is big enough to carry your suit and ties without having the need to iron your stuff when you get to work. An honorable mention goes to the North St. Morrison Backpack pannier, we have not tried this bag but it is proudly made in the USA.

We will be posting part 2 on Wednesday (Black Friday Eve’s eve), stay tuned for part 2!